I recently went to a restaurant on the East side of 9th between 1st and A (unfortunately I don't remember the name- "IZ-" something. Can anybody provide?) The inside is small and kitchy with lots of colored lights and statues.
I don't like most Mexican food in the United States, because a lot of inexpensive/moderate mexican tends to be heavily Tex-Mex influenced with too much rice and beans and feels so heavy. I was ambivalent, but this place was wonderful.
We shared everything. For appetizers:
- toasted ravioli filled with goat cheese
-an asparagus salad with mango and oaxaca cheese which was a good combination of flavors and the mango was a nice sweetness to offset everything else, but the asparagi were slightly overcooked for my tastes (I like them crunchy so take it as you will)
-a fantastic spinach, mushroom and truffle oil souffle which was heavily truffle flavored/scented, but was light and a pleasure to eat. From the strong truffle smell to the way the souffle melts in your mouth, the dish was a sensory experience from sniff to swallow, as good food should be. Easily the best dish we had.
For main courses:
-hanger steak in a rich poblano pepper and red wine sauce with potatoes. The steak was perfectly prepared and us young people fell upon the red meat with great relish. This dish did not stay on the table for long.
-dumplings in a stew-like soup. The dumpling dough had a green herb in it I had never heard of that our server said was similar to cilantro, but it did not taste at all like cilantro. The dumplings were too dense. This might be the perfect traditional preparation for this kind of dumpling, but they were not to my taste. The stew was fantastic though.
- pumpkin creme brulee which was fine but not stellar and not the sort of thing to get in this kind of restaurant
- chocolate cake -- rich, moist and delicious. A great end to our meal.
Dinner was unbelievably reasonable for New York, especially given the high quality. $65 (before tip) for 3 apps, 2 entrees, 2 desserts, and a glass of wine.